Recycling plastic makes it more toxic & is no solution for pollution: Research by Greenpeace, Forbes issues warning

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This comes ahead of international plastic treaty’ by 173 nations.

Amsterdam-based independent environmental campaigning network, Greenpeace, has published a new report ahead of the Global Plastics Treaty negotiations in Paris, shedding light on the potentially harmful effects of recycled plastic. The report, titled “Forever Toxic,” presents findings that suggest recycled plastic is more toxic than its original components and significantly contributes to microplastic pollution. Greenpeace emphasizes that recycling alone is not a sufficient solution to environmental pollution.

Drawing upon various peer-reviewed studies from around the world, Greenpeace highlights the presence of over 13,000 chemicals in plastics, with more than 3,200 known to be hazardous to human health. Disturbingly, even when plastic is recycled, these chemicals persist, often resulting in higher levels of toxicity. This can lead to adverse effects on human health and environmental contamination within communities.

Graham Forbes, the Global Plastics Campaign Lead at Greenpeace USA, comments on the report, stating, “The plastics industry, which includes fossil fuel, petrochemical, and consumer goods companies, continues to promote plastic recycling as a solution to the plastic pollution crisis. However, our report reveals that the toxicity of plastic actually increases with recycling. Plastics have no place in a circular economy, and it is evident that the only true solution to ending plastic pollution lies in drastically reducing plastic production.”

The report also sheds light on the poorly regulated process of recycling plastic. Alarmingly, only 9% of plastic is currently recycled worldwide, placing both people and the planet at risk. Recycled plastics often contain elevated levels of harmful chemicals, such as toxic flame retardants, benzene, carcinogens, brominated and chlorinated dioxins, and various endocrine disruptors. These substances have the potential to cause disruptions to the body’s natural hormone levels and pose significant risks to human health.

Greenpeace’s report challenges the notion that recycling alone can address the plastic pollution crisis. Instead, it urges a substantial reduction in plastic production as the most effective means of combatting the issue. The organization calls for increased regulation and awareness surrounding the recycling process to ensure that it is carried out responsibly and with stringent measures to minimize the release of toxic substances.

As Greenpeace prepares for the Global Plastics Treaty negotiations in Paris, their report serves as a wake-up call to policymakers, industry leaders, and individuals alike. It highlights the urgent need for transformative actions to move away from plastic dependency and embrace sustainable alternatives, ultimately striving for a cleaner and healthier future for both humanity and the environment.

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